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The ICRA vocabulary

This page shows the final draft of the ICRA vocabulary as proposed by the Vocabulary Review Group1 and agreed by the ICRA board in December 2004. It is anticipated this vocabulary will be introduced along with the new RDF-based labelling techniques in early 2005.

The vocabulary was revised to take account of comments received on the current system, particularly with reference to digital media other than the fixed internet.

ICRA is also finalising plans for a system that will allow countries or specific interest groups to add their own section to the vocabulary, subject to review and agreement. It will also be possible to introduce different shortcut buttons and make other modifications to the presentation of the questionnaire to tailor the system.

Comments and feedback are welcome via the contact page2.

Nudity [Help]

  • Exposed breasts
  • Bare buttocks
  • Visible genitals
  • None of the above

Sexual material [Help]

  • Passionate kissing
  • Obscured or implied sexual acts
  • Visible sexual touching
  • Explicit sexual language
  • Erections/explicit sexual acts
  • Erotica
  • None of the above

Violence [Help]

  • Assault/rape
  • Injury to human beings
  • Injury to animals
  • Injury to fantasy characters (including animation)
  • Blood and dismemberment, human beings
  • Blood and dismemberment, animals
  • Blood and dismemberment, fantasy characters (including animation)
  • Torture or killing of human beings
  • Torture or killing of animals
  • Torture or killing of fantasy characters (including animation)
  • None of the above

Language [Help]

  • Abusive or vulgar terms
  • Profanity or swearing
  • Mild expletives
  • None of the above

Potentially harmful activities [Help]

  • Depiction of tobacco use
  • Depiction of alcohol use
  • Depiction of drug use
  • Depiction of the use of weapons
  • Gambling
  • Content that sets a bad example for young children: that teaches or encourages children to perform harmful acts or imitate dangerous behaviour
  • Content that creates feelings of fear, intimidation, horror, or psychological terror
  • Incitement or depiction of discrimination or harm against any individual or group based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnic, religious or national identity
  • None of the above

User generated content [Help]

  • User-generated content such as chat rooms and message boards (moderated)
  • User-generated content such as chat rooms and message boards (unmoderated)
  • None of the above

Context [Help]

  • This material appears in an artistic context
  • This material appears in an educational context
  • This material appears in a medical context
  • This material appears in a sports context
  • This material appears in a news context


First published in 2000, the original ICRA descriptors were determined through a process of international consultation to establish a content labelling system that gives reasonable consistency across different cultures and languages. Whilst every effort was made to create objective descriptors, some subjectivity is inevitable. Furthermore, some ambiguities may arise through translation. For these reasons additional definitions and explanations are provided to support some descriptors.

Following work by a new international group, ICRA published a revised vocabulary in 2005. The revisions were designed to strengthen the original vocabulary by building on the experience gained to date, and to allow the system to be used by the full range of digital media, not just traditional websites.

General comments

"..images, portrayals or descriptions..."
Any presentation including, but not limited to, pictures, no matter how crudely drawn or depicted, written descriptions, oral recitations, and or audio sounds.

Please remember that it is possible to label sections or individual pages on your website separately. You can create as many different labels as you need to describe your content.

If in doubt...
... please try to see the material as you think it would be perceived by someone without cultural, religious or other bias, when he or she decides what material is appropriate for young children. Describe your content in a way that you feel honestly does not mislead cautious parents.

The shortcut buttons

Shortcut buttons provide a quick and easy way to label some types of content. Each one simply checks a number of descriptors in the main questionnaire. The label produced is exactly the same as would have been produced if the content provider filled in the questionnaire by hand.


The nudity descriptors stand alone and do not of themselves imply any sexual context.

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Sexual material

The term Erotica is included in the vocabulary to cover material that is sex-related but does not show or imply sexual activity. Examples include sexually provocative clothing, provocative sex poses and sex toys.

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It is believed that no further explanation is required to support the descriptors in this section.

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No further definition of the language descriptors is given since, by its very nature, language itself and the perception of language is always changing.

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Potentially harmful activities

It is believed that no further explanation is required to support the descriptors in this section.

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User-generated content

If you operate a chatroom, host a message board or any other method by which users can directly post content to your site, you should check one or other of the two descriptors in this section.

"Moderated" means that you review user-supplied content before it is posted to the web.

Please remember that it is possible to label sections or pages of your website separately.

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This material appears in a context intended to be artistic, medical or educational
The context descriptors allow providers to make a statement about the intention behind their content. Classical painting and sculpture can be assumed to be intended as artistic. Material designed to teach children about sex, would qualify as intended as educational

This material appears in a sports context.
This context qualifier is provided with contact sports in mind, such as boxing. It is not intended, for example, to cover violent online or video games.

This material appears in a news context
This context qualifier is provided to describe material that reports real life events that in other contexts may be considered harmful by parents.

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At least one descriptor per section

A valid ICRA label will always include at least one descriptor from each section of the vocabulary. If no descriptors are checked within a given section, the label generator will insert a label that declares that material described in that section may be, but is not known to be, present.


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